COVID-19 and Public Policy

COVID-19 and Public Policy

Public policy and advocacy efforts in response to COVID-19

Philanthropy can play a deeper role in ensuring the economic and health of our communities and the non-profit sector. In addition to getting organized and providing resources, philanthropy can be a voice in advocacy to secure public funding and resources for communities.

Congress continues to consider legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis:

  • The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R.6074), passed March 6, provided $8.3 billion to federal agencies to ramp up their outbreak responses.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201), passed March 11, provides coronavirus testing, more funding plus easier eligibility for food and unemployment assistance, extra protections for workers in health care, and paid sick and family leave.
  • The largest bill, the $2 trillion CARES Act (H.R.748), passed March 27, includes expanded unemployment benefits, cash payments to individuals and loans across various business sectors. For nonprofits, those with 500 or fewer employees are eligible for small business loans of up to $10 million to fund payroll and other qualifying business expenses – regardless of whether a nonprofit receives Medicaid or not. The loans are forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll through June 30.
    • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has also been expanded and may front nonprofits that seek these loans with up to $10,000. Some organizations may also be eligible for payroll tax credits. However, nonprofits cannot claim all these financial relief avenues and will need to pick and choose after considering the varying eligibility requirements.
    • There are also some charitable giving changes in the CARES Act. There will be a nonitemizer charitable deduction of $300 for 2020, which does not include giving to donor-advised funds. For taxpayers who itemize deductions, the cap on the charitable deduction is lifted from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent for 2020.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R.266) passed April 23. The $484 billion bill includes an additional $321 billion for the small business and nonprofit loans created in the CARES Act, $100 billion for healthcare and testing, $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and additional support for the Small Business Administration.

Including the nonprofit sector in relief legislation remains a priority. As Congress continues to work on additional legislation, Philanthropy Northwest has joined national nonprofit and philanthropy organizations in asking our members of Congress to include $60 billion in capital for charitable nonprofits to support their business continuity, as well as a universal charitable deduction, effective through 2021, to incentivize all taxpayers to make immediate charitable donations toward nonprofits' vital efforts. The Save Organizations that Serve (SOS) America Act (H.R.6408) would address these concerns, as well as expand the CARES Act’s business loans to all nonprofits. 

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Contact our policy team for additional information about COVID-19 and related public policy and advocacy efforts.